Jordan hopeful of Aussie upset

Jordan has never been this close to World Cup qualification before, and the team that will run out against Australia on Tuesday night believes destiny could  be on its side this time.

The men from the Hashemite kingdom have already pulled off one victory over the Socceroos – on their own patch in Amman in  September – and are optimistic they can bloody their better-known rival's nose in a game  few give them much chance of winning.

It has been widely assumed  the Jordanians, with seven points and two games to play, just like Australia, will  defend in depth, slow the game down and try to pinch a point to keep themselves in the hunt ahead of their final match against Middle Eastern rival Oman in Amman next week.

But as Socceroo skipper Lucas Neill pointed out on Monday, Adnan Hamad's players  will at some point have to show what they are made of  and, contrary to expectations, might try to take the game to Australia.

In some ways they have little alternative, as their goal difference – courtesy of a 6-0 thrashing in Japan  – means  they will have to finish ahead of Australia and Oman on the points table as their minus-6 goal deficit will leave them adrift if they finish level with a rival.

Certainly  the coach  and goalkeeper Amer Shafia, who has played 120 times for his country, see this match as the one that will determine which nation qualifies.

If Jordan could pull off a surprise win here it would leap to 10 points, with Oman on nine and Australia on seven, effectively putting the Socceroos out of business. Jordan would then need only one point from its final fixture to finish runner-up and grab  second spot, and with it an automatic berth in Brazil.

''It's an important match for both teams after gaining seven points in the group. Tomorrow's match will decide who qualifies. It [the poor goal difference] has a big effect on us and our position in the group,'' Adnan Hamad  said on Monday.

''The Australian team is a strong team, we respect them, but we came here for a win and we should do the job tomorrow. I think it's the biggest match in the history of Jordanian football.

''But the players, coaches and fans have the best intentions of getting a result in this match. Our aim is three points.''

Jordan could  be  without Anas  Bani Yaseen, one of its most experienced defenders. The 24-year-old is injured although Hamad said no final decision  would be made until match day.

Hamad was grateful for Japan's late leveller in Saitama last week, acknowledging his side's task would have been much greater had Australia pulled off an unexpected victory.

But the coach was not happy about the scheduling of  matches over the past year, particularly the double-header which his team lost so heavily in Japan – a result that was reversed when Jordan beat the Blue Samurai 2-1  at home  in the return fixture.

''The schedule affected some teams, and we are one of them,'' he said.

''That wasn't in our favour. We travelled 12,000 kilometres in distance on a four-day turnaround in that game and it didn't help us. The timing and scheduling worked out for Japan and Korea more than any other team.''

Hamad said his four-hour detention by  immigration officials  last week  after Jordan's warm-up win over New Zealand was no longer an issue. ''It's the last thing on our mind now. We want to concentrate on the match and not make it a big scenario.''

The story Jordan hopeful of Aussie upset first appeared on WA Today.

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